Seattle Child Pornography Defense Attorneys

Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers

We’re betting you have several burning questions you want answered, which is why we created this page. Here you’ll find simple and straightforward answers to the questions that really matter to you right now. Despite this, the best way to make sure all of your questions are answered is to simply pick up the phone and give us a call for a free confidential consultation.

Common Child Pornography Questions

Under the law, no physical evidence is needed for many sex crimes, and no corroboration is needed for the accuser’s story. If the police/prosecutor believe your accuser, charges will get filed.

A little further down on this page you can read a few brief descriptions about some of the more common sex crimes in Washington. You can also see what sex crimes require registration on this page as well. For now, here is list of some of the more common sex crimes we see in Washington:

  • Rape 1, 2, & 3
  • Rape of a Child 1, 2, 3
  • Child Molestation 1, 2, 3
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 1, 2
  • Indecent Liberties
  • Voyeurism
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Communication with a minor for immoral purposes
  • Possession of depictions of Minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct 1, 2
This, of course, depends on what charge you are facing. The best way to determine exactly what has to be proven is to look at the Washington Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions. These instructions list out an element by element breakdown of exactly what has to be proven against you for particular offenses. Rather than try to decipher this for yourself, simply give us a call and we will explain everything.

Two basic defenses are (1) a general denial of all allegations, or (2) you lacked the necessary intent or knowledge required to be considered guilty of what you have been accused of. For intent/knowledge, there are ‘affirmative’ defenses for certain sex crimes. Ordinarily, the defendant has no burden of proof whatsoever, meaning that you are presumed innocent and it is up to the State of Washington to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest standard of evidence that exists in the law). However, an ‘affirmative’ defense is an exception to this general rule. When applicable, if a defendant is making particular claims, he or she has the burden of proving these assertions to a jury by a ‘preponderance of the evidence.’ This is a much lower standard than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ An example of this can be found in a case of a charge Indecent Liberties where this issue is whether the accuser had the capacity to consent: RCW 9A.44.030(1) In any prosecution under this chapter in which lack of consent is based solely upon the victim’s mental incapacity or upon the victim’s being physically helpless, it is a defense which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the offense the defendant reasonably believed that the victim was not mentally incapacitated and/or physically helpless.
The consequences of a conviction vary greatly depending on the charge and other circumstances. We list some potential consequences here, but in order to get the more specific answers about your particular case, simply pick up the phone and give us a call.
  • Jail/Prison Sentence
  • Registration as a sex offender
  • Felony Conviction, leading to loss of rights such a voting and possession of firearms
  • Formal probation/Community Custody
  • Counseling/therapy
  • Alternative sentencing such as work release, electronic home monitoring, and/or community service
  • Fines
  • Loss of job

That depends on whether you are convicted of a sex crime and what that sex crime is. Further, Washington State has the following different levels of registration: Lifetime, Indefinite, 15 years, and 10 years. The duty to register begins after you are convicted and released from custody.

Here are the lists:

Lifetime Registration

  • Determined to be a Sexually Violent Predator
  • Indecent Liberties – With Forcible Compulsion (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Rape 1 (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Rape 2 – With Forcible Compulsion (Including Attempt & Solicitation)

 

Indefinite Registration

  • Assault 2 with Sexual Motivation
  • Child Molestation 1 (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Kidnapping 2 with Sexual Motivation
  • Promoting Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Rape 2 – Without Forcible Compulsion (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Rape of a Child 1 & 2 (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Any sex or kidnapping offense where defendant has one or more prior conviction for a sex or kidnapping offense

 

15 Year Registration

  • Child Molestation 2
  • Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Dealing in Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (third or subsequent violation committed on or after 6/10/2010
  • Incest 1
  • Indecent Liberties – Without Forcible Compulsion
  • Possession of Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
  • Promoting Prostitution 1
  • Sending, Bringing into the State Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Viewing Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1

 

10 Year Registration

  • Child Molestation 3
  • Communication with Minor for Immoral Purposes (felony or misdemeanor)
  • Criminal Trespass Against Children
  • Custodial Sexual Misconduct 1
  • Dealing in Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (Second violation committed on or after 6/10/2010)
  • Incest 2
  • Possession of Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Promoting Prostitution 2
  • Rape 3
  • Rape of Child 3
  • Sending, Bringing into the State Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Sexual Misconduct with Minor 1 & 2
  • Sexually Violating Human Remains
  • Viewing Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Voyeurism
  • Attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit a class C sex offense
Every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, it’s not possible for us to tell you what result you will get on your particular case until we have had a chance to fully litigate it. That said, here are some potential results; all of which we have achieved for our clients:
  • Dismissal of charges in the pre-trial stages
  • Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA)
  • Reduction of charges
  • First Time Offender Waiver (if no prior record)
  • Reduction of penalties
  • Not guilty verdict after trial
  • Hung Jury leading to Mistrial
  • Guilty verdict after trial
Simply give us a call for a full explanation of what these outcomes mean and how we can achieve them.
Washington has some of the strongest sex offender registration and notification laws in the nation and was the first state to implement involuntary civil commitment for what the state labels the “most dangerous sexual predators.” After you are convicted of a sex crime and get sentenced to prison, if you are labeled as a “Level 3 offender” (the highest risk of reoffending) then prior to your release from custody, you must undergo a review to determine whether or not you should be referred for possible civil commitment to the McNeil Island Special Commitment Center (SCC) as a sexually violent predator. Washington State law defines an SVP as any person:
  • Who has been convicted of or charged with a crime of sexual violence; and
  • Who suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder;
  • Which makes the person likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility.
If a judge finds offenders meet this criteria, they are held indefinitely at the SCC until their mental condition improves such that they may be released into society. If you are in danger of an SVP commitment, contact us so we can talk to you about how we can help you try to avoid this.
A Psychosexual evaluation is when you sit down with psychologist to undergo questioning and testing, including a “sexual history” polygraph. There are a few doctors in Washington that are highly respected by the courts and prosecutor’s alike. You have to pay for these evaluations separately and it’s important to know that you are not paying the doctor to write a favorable report for you. Rather, the report will be an honest evaluation based on their professional opinions. Thus, it’s important to be be prepared for these interviews and also know when it’s a good idea NOT to do them. There are number of other important things to discuss in relation to these tests, and we would be happy to do so as part of a free consultation.
SSOSA is essentially a way to avoid a potentially lengthy prison sentence by undergoing treatment instead (although you could still be facing up to a year in county jail). In addition to possible county jail, a sentence to state prison will also be imposed, but it gets “suspended” pending successful completion of treatment (meaning you never have to serve the prison sentence). Many sex crimes could potentially qualify for SSOSA, but not Rape 2 nor any other sex offense that is also considered to be a “serious violent offense.” If you are eligible based on your alleged offense, you must also meet the following criteria:
  • If the conviction is a result of a guilty plea, you must fully admit that you committed the crime alleged.  In other words, you cannot enter a plea of “no contest”
  • No prior convictions for a sex crime
  • No violent crime convictions within the past five years
  • No substantial bodily harm to the victim
  • The victim was not a stranger to you; there was some sort of established relationship/connection to the victim
  • Your standard sentencing range for the offense you are convicted of includes the possibility of less than 11 years in prison
It’s important to note that even if you are eligible for SSOSA, it does not mean you will get it, or that you even want to get it for that matter. It takes an experienced attorney to evaluate your case and then give you advice as to whether SSOSA is a good option for you or not. If it is, then we will make sure all the appropriate steps are being taken to give you the best possible chance of getting this resolution.

Brief Overview of Child Pornography Crimes

Rape

False allegations of rape are commonplace, and all it takes is one person pointing their finger at you and you can get charged. No corroboration of any kind is needed. No DNA, no other witnesses, nothing. Rape defenses generally fall into two main categories: (1) No sex occurred at all; or (2) the sex was consensual. These are two very distinct defenses, each requiring a skilled approach by an experienced legal team.

Child Molestation

These are complex and delicate cases that definitely require an experienced attorney by your side. The very first thing a jury thinks in a case of this nature is, “why would a child ever lie about being molested?” Because of this, even though the burden is on the state to prove your guilt, in these cases, the reality is we often have to work to prove your innocence.

Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes

CMIP for short is one of those odd statutes in Washington where a first offense can be a gross misdemeanor, unless the alleged communication was done by electronic means, in which case it is a class C felony. Either way, if you’re convicted, you would be required to register as a sex offender. Knowledge about the the age of the person you were in communication with is often a key element in these cases and we have a lot of experience successfully challenging that element.

Indecent Liberties

The crime of Indecent liberties revolves around the capacity to consent to sexual contact. In other words, was the alleged victim incapable of consent because of being mentally defective or incapacitated or physically helpless? This comes up in a number of different circumstances. A few of which are:

  • Someone has had too much alcohol to drink or taken too many drugs to be able to consent
  • A doctor/patient examination
  • An allegation of inappropriate contact by a massage therapist
  • When someone is a resident at a drug rehab or a mental health facility and alleges inappropriate contact with someone who had supervisory authority over them.

Prosecutors often take a hard stance on indecent liberty cases and as a result these cases have a higher likelihood of ending up in trial compared to many other cases. We always exhaust all pre-trial remedies first, but if that if trial is our only option then we will be ready to fight hard for a “got guilty” verdict.

 

Voyeurism

Voyeurism arrests are on the rise in Washington. This is in part due to virtually every phone now being equipped with a camera and/or video recording capabilities. We typically see allegations of this come up where the victim was in a place where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy (a bathroom, a clothing store changing room, a locker room, a house, apartment or hotel, etc.) and they are filmed or photographed without their knowledge and consent.

The state also must prove that the filming or photographing was done for the purpose of arousing or gratify sexual desires.

We have successfully handled a number of these cases and are standing by ready to discuss the best possible defense of your voyeurism case as well.

Child Pornography

In State Courts, this allegation is referred to as possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, while in Federal Court, it is referred to as Possession of Child Pornography.  These days, we most commonly see this charge associated with electronic files/folders stored on a client’s computer or other device.  In particular, it often arises in cases where there is alleged file sharing on protocols such as BitTorrent and UTorrent, which can also sometimes lead to “Dealing” charges as well.

There are varying approached to defending this allegation. For instance, many times our client does not personally know the person in the picture/video. Thus if you are not in possession of any facts that would prove you knew the age of the person, then you have a very viable defense to this charge if the person depicted in the images arguably appears as though he/she could be 18 years old. Another argument centers around the term possession itself.  For example, if the image(s) were in some unallocated cache that you didn’t specifically know about or access, then this could negate the possession requirement.

Mitigation, including psychosexual evaluations, also often play an important role in these cases.

Patronizing a Prostitute/Sexual Exploitation

Western Washington has been cracking down on prostitution related cases recently (as of 2016), and the focus of law enforcement has been to arrest the customers, not the prostitutes. It used to be that these cases were simply referred for diversion so you didn’t have to do much of anything to avoid a conviction. Not anymore. Prosecutors now want you to have a criminal record for this charge. While this is just a simple misdemeanor (as opposed to a more serious gross misdemeanor), a conviction can have very real and dire consequences. We handle a large number of these cases and know the best approach to fight them and avoiding a conviction.

 

Promoting Prostitution 2

As opposed to promoting prostitution in the first degree, promoting in the second degree is not technically a sex crime. Further, it was traditionally only pursued for what people commonly refer to as “pimps.” While the law is certainly is still applied to alleged pimps, it has recently (as of 2016) been expanded to other activities. For instance, a huge bust occurred in January 2016, charging several men with felonies simply because they visited prostitutes and then went online and wrote reviews about their experiences. This is not the promotion of prostitution as far as we are concerned and if you are charged with this, let us know and we will fight the Prosecution on this every step of the way.

 

Police Stings

Stings on sex cases are very common and take several different forms. For instance, the police may post an ad online offering prostitution services, or they may be in a chatroom or on an app posing as a minor, or as the parent of a minor offering up their kid for sex. See our page on Prostitution Stings and/or our page covering Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor/Net Nanny Stings for more information.

We made our name defending clients in sting cases with our success in handling the Dateline NBC To Catch A Predator cases, and we are still vigorously fighting these cases to this day.

seattle criminal defense attorney on to catch a predator

Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers

Court and Michelle developed a specialty representing those accused of sex crimes through their involvement with Dateline NBC’s To Catch A Predator show. Court was the first attorney in the country to take one of these cases to trial. Read about Court’s success with this first case here.

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I would highly recommend Mr Court for any criminal case consulting. His approach was thoroughly professional. he was a great listener and a good strategist. His approach was methodical and he didnt rush into any decisions. I changed my counsel just before my first court date and Mr Court did an excellent job. The case was finally dismissed in my favor. I would consider myself lucky but Mr court had some innovative ways to approach my case. It was such a pleasure to have Mr Court on my side. He was super responsive over texts and emails. He was punctual and very gentle in communication.
We never imagined we would be in the position to need a defense attorney, but when we did, we were so thankful that we found Court Will. Both he and Michelle are truly the best. Court is extremely dedicated, thoughtful, calm, and confident. He took time to get to know us, the case, and really ensured that we understood not only what was happening, but all possible outcomes. Court was honest, answered every question, took his time with us, gave excellent advice, and ultimately got the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. He is brilliant, and we are most grateful.
After some research & speaking with other attorneys, I came across Court. I instantly knew he was right for my situation. I met him shortly after we discuss some details on the phone. He was very pleasant & very understanding of this difficult time in my life. One of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Of course I hired him. As months passed, he reached out to me & gave me the best news/results I have ever heard. I know the work he did in the background & I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you Court!
Chris
A knowledgable and caring attorney who got me an amazing result I was charged with a felony sex crime. I had a previous attorney before hiring Mr. Will. The other attorney told me I needed to plead guilty or I would go to prison for 3 years. Due to a number of reasons, I didn't want to go to trial, and Mr. Will respected that. Mr. Will went to court for me more times than I can count, did some additional investigation and ultimately told me that I could plead guilty to a lesser offense and get probation and house arrest. I was amazed. I give Mr. Will my highest recommendation.
Mike

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